The introduction itself is a fine and thought-provoking piece of writing, here's a snippet:
"No good poem ever steps fully into the light or becomes completely accessible, but remains, instead, almost infinitely approachable. This dark is nurturing: belief in it results in the uncomfortable conviction that it is not the poem's job to explain itself. Rather, the poem is there to affect the reader, to mean something to them that is immediate and powerful, however complex that encounter may prove to be."
I was pleased to get my contributor's copy of Gutter Mag in this morning, it was great reading poems from JoAnne McKay, Colin Will, Sally Evans and fellow Calder Wood Press poet Judith Taylor. It really is a fantastic magazine, packed full of short stories as well as poems. I haven't read the stories yet, just the poems. I particularly enjoyed Dilys Rose's poem 'Yellow Polka Dot Dress': "In the style of downtown Louisaiana, circa 1955 - / Was that when Mum and Retro were born?" (actually my mum was born in 1955 so that made me smile!). Also liked Robert Marsland's 'Poetry' with its "white broth / power", Rizanwan Akhtar's 'Bride from Lahore': "wobbling on the pointed heels / smile-collecter she walks / with a market-logic", Jim Stewart's 'Hive' sequence, Jim Carruth's rural poems and loads more including Gaelic translations, translations from Arabic and translations from a contemporary Swiss poet.
The Editorial was a very interesting read, talking about the lack of quality poems submitted in Scots: "Good writing in Scots is not a matter of changing was to wiz", this made me smile as I thought about my experiment the other year of 'translating' one of my poems into Scots! It raises a lot of interesting questions about the diminished ability of Scottish writers to write in Scots. I'm the first to admit that I don't / can't write in Scots, I maybe throw in the odd Scots word but to write a whole poem in Scots would require supreme effort. Yet perhaps I ought to be making that effort, afterall I do speak Scots to a certain degree, but it doesn't come natural to write in it. Part of the problem is there doesn't seem to be strict grammatical rules governing Scots so trying to write in it feels like abandoning all the ingrained certainty of the english language and that's not easy to do. Plus there's that niggling feeling that Scots is just poor / lazy english, these days they encourage school children to write in Scots, they certainly didn't do that when I was at school! But it's about the preservation of indigenous culture, heritage and identity and what it comes down to is the fact that "people are not engaging in written form with the language they speak on a daily basis". Poetry is about communication and I guess I'm missing out on being able to communicate a core part of my identity by not writing in Scots, coming to realise this makes the issue suddenly more important to me than it was previously.